Dipstick vs. Owner's Manual

Messages
305
Location
Ohio
Looking at the thread "How Much is too Much?" got me wondering: When refilling the crankcase after an oil/filter change, are you the type who: A) Refills with whatever amount the owner's manual calls for (i.e., 4.5qts, 5qts), regardless of the dipstick reading. "It says add 5 quarts, so I'm adding 5 quarts!" OR B) Refills with the amount of oil necessary to get the level on the dipstick in the proper range. This may mean using anywhere from 1/2 - 1 quart of fresh oil less than what is called for. Just wondering. Even though I try to let the oil drain out as long as possible, refilling with the specified amount always leads to an overfill situation on the dipstick. I know you can never get every last drop of old oil out. Also, it's important to keep checking the level periodically.
 
Messages
2,569
Location
College Dorm...
quote:
Originally posted by ZiTS: Looking at the thread "How Much is too Much?" got me wondering: When refilling the crankcase after an oil/filter change, are you the type who: A) Refills with whatever amount the owner's manual calls for (i.e., 4.5qts, 5qts), regardless of the dipstick reading. "It says add 5 quarts, so I'm adding 5 quarts!" OR B) Refills with the amount of oil necessary to get the level on the dipstick in the proper range. This may mean using anywhere from 1/2 - 1 quart of fresh oil less than what is called for. Just wondering. Even though I try to let the oil drain out as long as possible, refilling with the specified amount always leads to an overfill situation on the dipstick. I know you can never get every last drop of old oil out. Also, it's important to keep checking the level periodically.
Refill to what the manual says, period...
 
Messages
3,216
Location
BC, Canada
I found with the 3.0 96 Taurus the proper level is 1/2 quart low on the dipstick. If filled past that level, the oil is consumed in only several hundred miles back to 1/2 quart low. The older 3.8 Fords don't mind sitting at 1/4" over the full mark. SBCs don't like to be overfilled as the crank hits the oil and foams it up. BBCs don't seem to mind being a little overfilled, and it saves wear and tear on the hood hinges.
 
I'm not sure abut my truck, but the owners manual for my dads kohler engine's manual states to fill with 1.5 pints & then top off to the proper range in the dipstick. They're kinda using both A&B here. Harley Davidson also says to fill to the top of the full mark on the dipstick for most motorcycles. Next question, your owners manual states 5 quarts and that only brings you to half way through the crosshatch on the dipstick - if it uses oil and you need to add it - fill it to the full mark or the 1/2 full mark?
 

driven2services

Administrator
Messages
0
quote:
Originally posted by wings&wheels: SBC?? BBC?? Some details for the newbies please. [Confused]
Small Block Chevy and Big Block Chevy.
 
Messages
3,693
Location
Chattanooga, TN
All of mine take either what the manual calls for or several ounces more then the manual to bring it up to full on the dipstick. Mine drain overnight on ramps to get the last drop if possible.
 

wtd

Messages
2,637
Location
southwest Mo.
I have that same problem on the 396 big block in my 70 Monte Carlo. Manual says it takes 5 qrts with filter for an oil change. With 5 qrts, its about 1/4" past the full mark on the dipstick. I usually just put the 5 qrts in and don't worry about it. Wayne
 
Messages
8,711
Location
Nothern USA
I have struggled with this one ever since my 02 Cavalier with the Ecotec 4 came new from the dealer with oil maybe a half inch high on the dip stick. Putting the 5.8 quarts from the manual back in brings it right back up there. I have been putting in 5 quarts. That is one quart more than my 92 Grand AM GT with the High Output Quad Four made do with. I am sure that is enough to ensure enough oil in the sump for adequate pickup. How much difference can 1/4 - 1/2'' make? What is oil capacity based on? Why does my lightly stressed SOHC 1.9 L truck get 6 quarts? I am going to continue with 5 quarts in the Cavalier, and quit worrying.
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,989
Location
Oakville, Ontario
I would go with the higher of the two. In the case of my car, my wife's and my mom's, all of them need more oil to show full on the stick compared to what the manual says. Could be because I let the oil drain for an hour or more in many cases. But if I owned a car which showed the dipstick full with less oil than the manual said, I'd go with what the manual said and add more.
 
Messages
30
Location
Pacific NW
I'd go with the dipstick. My manual states 5.0 qts. for my engine, high level mark on the dipstick is actually a little over 4. Everyone I've talked to says, if you go any more than 1/2 qt. overfilled, your putting excessive pressure on the seals.
 
Messages
555
Location
south texas border
hmmm glad I ran into this thread...both my ford trucks, 4.2 and 5.4 litre, come up short on the dipstick with the manual required six quarts. I add another half quart and it brings me half way up on the stick and that is where I've been running it...total of 6.5 qts with oil filter change...please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

TC

Messages
1,644
Location
California
I say trust the dipstick. It's a crude meaasuring device, but a measuring device nonetheless. When you do an oil change, it's possible that some engines might retain more oil than one would think. So, in those engines, if you went by the owner's manual, you'll end up with more oil than what's called for. I say, always defer to the owner's manual....unless you can accurately measure what you're trying to accomplish in some way, then defer to the measuring device over the manual.
 
Messages
89
Location
Niagara Falls, Ont.
My owner's manual calls for 4.6L. An oil change with oem filter uses 3.8L of new oil. I'm using an oversized oil filter, so it now takes exactly 4.0L to get to the top of the cross hatching. If I were to "follow the manual" and just add 4.6L, I'd be over filled. An Acura mechanic told me the 4.6L figure was assuming there was NO oil in the motor. I go by the dipstick. 'Technically' I suppose one could argue that oil could safely be added until there was evidence of windage, then back off 100-200 ml; regardless of what the manual or dipstick say?
 
Messages
324
Location
California
quote:
Originally posted by labman: I have struggled with this one ever since my 02 Cavalier with the Ecotec 4 came new from the dealer with oil maybe a half inch high on the dip stick. Putting the 5.8 quarts from the manual back in brings it right back up there. I have been putting in 5 quarts. That is one quart more than my 92 Grand AM GT with the High Output Quad Four made do with. I am sure that is enough to ensure enough oil in the sump for adequate pickup. How much difference can 1/4 - 1/2'' make? What is oil capacity based on? Why does my lightly stressed SOHC 1.9 L truck get 6 quarts? I am going to continue with 5 quarts in the Cavalier, and quit worrying.
I have 02 Grand Am with Ecotec engine. Manual says 5.8 quarts as well. I did some reseach and I found following capacities recomendations for Ecotec on different cars and years (although it's the same engine, no difference): 5.8 quarts 5.0 quarts 4.5 quarts 4.4 quarts 4.0 quarts 3.8 quarts That's the craziest thing I've ever heard about capacities. Go figure what should you do... ??? By the way - I use 5 quarts, may switch to 4.5 next time. Regards,
 
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